Al-Raqqa, once the second capital of a great empire then a ceramic center which created wonders in clay

Abbasid Monument

Abbasid Monument

Recently the city of Al-Raqqa, Eastern Syria, has been a prey to the Syrian bombers which resulted in the deaths of many children, not to mention a trail of destruction. This aroused great sadness in me, a ceramist, because Al-Raqqa was a great ceramic center in the Middle Ages whose ware know as Ragga ware is sought after by the great museums of the world.

Raqqa is situated on the Euphrates in ancient Mesopotamia, the Syrian side, a cradle of civilization. It was built during the Hellenistic period, but rose twice to prominence in the Islamic era before the Mongols destroyed it in 1258. During the Abbasid Caliphate under the rule of Harun Al-Rashid and his father, 8-9th century, Raqqa became the second capital of the empire, which transformed it into an important cultural center. Later it passed through some troubled times in the wake of several military campaigns. Therefore it was not until the 11th century, under the Zangids and Ayyubids, that Raqqa rose to prominence again. It was then that its famous kilns began to produce under Royal patronage the lovely Raqqa ware which ranked among the finest that Syria produced. Specially well-known is the Raqqa lustre ware and the glazed turquoise on black ware. Contrary to what is believed about Islamic art, many pots were decorated with images of human beings and animals, in addition to some free standing figurines.

Abbasid architecture

Abbasid architecture

سمعت عن قصف قرية القحطانية شمال غرب الرقة ومقتل العديد من الاطفال في الغارة فاثار هذا في نفسي حزنا مضاعفا فهذهالارض هي بعض من بلاد ما بين النهرين، ميسوبوتوميا،  مهد الحضارات الانسانية. وللرقة مكان خاص في نفسي لانني خزَافة.  القليل  من الناس يعرفون ماضي الرقة العريق في الخزف ولا يدور بخلدهم ان اي متحف عظيم في العالم سيفخر باقتناء نماذج من فخار الرقة.         

 عرفت الرقة التي اسست في العهد الهليني فترتي ازدهار. كانت الاولى اثناء حكم العباسيين اذ اتخذها المنصور  ومن بعده هارون الرشيد عاصمة بالاضافة الى بغداد واصبحت المدينة مركزاً علمياً وثقافياً هاماً. وبعد فترة اضطِراب بين القرن 9 -10، ازدهرت الرقة مرة اخرى تحت حكم الزنكيين والايوبيين وانتجت افرانها فخار الرقة الرائع بانواعه المختلفة: المطلي بالبريق المعدني اوالمزجج باللون التركوازي فوق النقوش السوداء، وحتى المجسَمات الصغيرة. ومن ميزات فخار الرقة ايضا رسم الاشخاص والحيوانا ت

 وفي عام 1258 دمرها المغول. 

Raqqa Ceramics

Raqqa Ceramics

Image by Alisar Iram

Abbasid Walls

Abbasid Walls

Raqqa Ceramics

Raqqa Ceramics

Image by Alisar Itam

About alisariram

I am an artist, a writer and a researcher. I know Arabic and English . I am interested in music and art of every description. I like to describe myself as the embodiment of a harmonious marriage between two cultures which I value and treasure.
This entry was posted in Alisar's notes and aerticles, Art, Ceramics, Raqqa, Syria, Syrian Heritage and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Al-Raqqa, once the second capital of a great empire then a ceramic center which created wonders in clay

  1. puresusan says:

    I, too, am an artist. That is why I’m heartbroken any time a group of people destroy the legacy & cultural heritage of another people. May those who value beauty & peace inspire those who walk with eyes shut. While I can’t understand the Arabic writing on your blog, I appreciate the lovely ceramics & history you gave of that magnificent part of the world. Peace.

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